de Jong Delivers Final Fiscal Update
Prince George, B.C.- Finance Minister Mike de Jong has delivered, what may well be his last fiscal update as the Clark government is expected to fall tomorrow following a confidence vote.
de Jong says the anticipated surplus for the year 2016/17 fiscal year is expected to be about $2.8 billion dollars.
Revenue grew from 48 billion to 51 and a half billion dollars. But spending grew during that a fiscal year as well, with housing initiatives, extra costs for wildfire suppression, and infrastructure spending.
He says the additional revenue came from gdp growth which he says “dramatically out stripped forecasts” as the Province has projected 2.4% growth, but the actual growth was closer to 3.7%, the highest rate of growth among all provinces.
The prediction for 2017/18 is again for a good year. It means, the NDP/Green coalition will inherit a healthy fiscal position with a triple A rating, strong GDP and more revenue than initially expected over the next three years “That will translate into upwards of two billion dollars in revenue just on the taxation front” says de Jong . He says that is why the government was able to make the investments it announced in the Throne Speech.
He issues a caution, “If you start to dismantle the foundation on which this powerful economy has been built, those numbers will change in a hurry and the fiscal where with all to do the good things on the social side of the agenda will disappear. ” He says his job as a member of the Opposition will be to “focus and critique and analyze whether or not they are putting that foundation at risk.”
deJong took some time during his fiscal update to react to some of the narrative being presented by the NDP/Green coalition, “What I think is curious, at a time when the language from the other parties is about collaboration and working together, I said, look, here are two things that apparently all of us agree upon ( electoral reform and giving the Greens official party status) that I think we can do in a day and it will not delay the vote that takes place on Thursday. No games, no delays, let’s all hold hands and do what you keep telling people you want to do, which is work together, and pass two measures that everyone says they agree with. They couldn’t do it, they wouldn’t do it.”
He says the fiscal position which will be inherited by a new government “represents a bar against which a new government will be measured.”